During the past several decades, our understanding of the principal’s job has evolved significantly. Part of NASSP’s role as your professional organization is to articulate the complexity of the principal’s position and highlight areas that might call for special support or attention. To that end, NASSP is proud to have led the development of the recently released Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015. The standards, adopted by the coalition of educational administrative organizations that compose the National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA), offer the clearest expression to date of the work you do each day and of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions you require to perform successfully. They are both practical and aspirational—recognizing your day-to-day reality while also setting high and crucial expectations.

The content of the standards is too extensive to describe with any justice on this page. (They are available at www.nassp.org/leaderstandards.) They treat the complete scope of the job, from developing personal characteristics and professional norms, to leading for learning, to scaffolding supportive networks of teachers, families, and the local community. In the short term, NASSP will align program offerings with the new standards. And the NPBEA, which I am honored to chair this year, will encourage states and educational administration programs to incorporate the standards into principal preparation, development, and evaluation programs. 

Principals can also use the standards to advocate for professional support. A result of years of intensive advocacy, the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes a provision that allows states to set aside 3 percent of Title II funds specifically for principal development (learn more about ESSA from our director of advocacy in the Advocacy Agenda column). The standards provide the perfect rationale for states to do so. You can look forward to NASSP sharing more about this in the coming months. 

As always, NASSP is here to support you in your work, articulate your work to the larger community, and provide you with the tools you need to advocate for yourself. We are honored to be your partner as you take on the crucial work of school leadership.

JoAnn Bartoletti 
Executive Director, NASSP